At the end of the 2012 legislative session, the Minnesota legislature enacted several affordable housing-related bills, including one measure that approved $37.5 million in bonding authority to be used by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) for housing and homeless programs. Chapter 293 of HF 1752 relating to state capital improvements appropriations approves the establishment of infrastructure bonds account in which MHFA may issue up to $30 million in housing infrastructure bonds, allots $5.5 million in general obligation bonds for public housing rehabilitation, and $2 million for the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter. The Minnesota Housing Partnership says this is the first time MHFA has been awarded more than $30 million in bonds, the first time the agency has been permitted to use bond proceeds to preserve federally assisted affordable housing owned by either for-profit or non-profit organizations, and the first year since 2007 that the agency did not receive a reduction in state appropriations for programs.
According to MHFA, the $30 million in housing infrastructure bonds will be used to preserve existing federally subsidized rental housing; stabilize communities impacted by the foreclosure crisis by creating new affordable housing opportunities through rental units and community land trusts; and construct or acquire and rehabilitate supportive housing, particularly for persons experiencing or at risk of experiencing long-term homelessness. The $5.5 million in general obligation bonds will be used specifically to preserve public housing and the $2 million general obligation bonds meant for the Harriet Tubman Center will be used to cover capital costs of the domestic violence shelter and other services.